Capitol Updates

Friday, March 17, 2023

NEW! NSEA CAPITOL UPDATE APP: The NSEA Capitol Update App is now LIVE in the App stores! Download the App to receive alerts and calls-to-action during the legislative session and stay up to date on events and education news from Unicameral. Click here for Android or Apple – or search for “NSEA Capitol Update.” 

Spread the News! NSEA members may click here to sign up and receive our Capitol Update newsletter that keeps everyone informed with up-to-date information on education and school finance legislation. You may also forward this to the personal email address of other NSEA members and encourage them to sign up.

  • ALERT: Keep Public Dollars for Public Schools for ALL Kids
  • Task Force Bill Provides Improvement to School Safety
  • Unused Tax Credits Would Boost Student Outcomes
  • Last Week of Committee Hearings

Keep Public Dollars for Public Schools for ALL Kids

Tuesday, March 21, 7 p.m. – 8 p.m. CDT 

On Wednesday, March 8, state legislators gave first-round approval to LB753, a school privatization bill. The NSEA strongly opposes this tax scheme because it would divert public dollars to pay for private school tuition. 

PLEASE REGISTER TO JOIN the NSEA Webinar this coming Tuesday at 7 p.m. CDT for an update on this legislation and to learn what NSEA members can do to stop this bill from becoming law and taking needed funding from your local public schools! 

This battle is far from over! The Private School Tax Scheme contained in LB753 advanced to second-round debate but by working together we can still stop this bill. 

Sign the petition and email your senator to oppose LB753 at:

The tax scheme in LB753 is terrible public policy that would harm Nebraska’s public schools. Research shows this type of private school tax scheme harms student achievement, lacks accountability, invites corruption and waste, promotes discrimination, exacerbates segregation, and fails to protect students with disabilities. Nebraskans are opposed to giving public dollars to private schools – they have rejected public funds for private schools at the ballot box on three separate occasions. 

This bill is not about scholarships or helping children out of poverty. It is about circumventing the Nebraska State Constitution and defunding public schools! LB753 allows corporations and taxpayers to take 50% of their state tax liability and divert it to a “scholarship granting organization (SGO)” which in turn would use those tax dollars to pay K-12 private school tuition. The Nebraska Constitution Art. VII, Sec. 11 is clear that public funds shall not be used to fund private schools. 

ALERT: The bill could be scheduled for Select File debate at any time. Continue to contact your senator and urge them to oppose this bill. Email your Senator here. Once you have done that, please contact these swing vote senators and urge them to oppose this tax scheme loophole that sidesteps our state constitution: 

Sen. Myron Dorn 
Sen. Jana Hughes 
Sen. Barry DeKay 
Sen. Mike Jacobson 
Sen. Justin Wayne 
Sen. Terrell McKinney 
Sen. Mike McDonnell 

AND… Submit comments online for LB753Click here. Urge your senator and these swing vote senators to keep public dollars public, for ALL kids! 

Task Force Suggests Improvements to School Safety

LB516 introduced by Sen. Lynne Walz of Fremont, would implement recommendations from the state’s School Safety Task Force. The task force was chaired by Walz and former Commissioner of Education Dr. Matt Bloomstedt and was composed of a variety of education stakeholders from across the state that included state officials, city officials, school board members, school administrators, school security personnel, school nurses, and educators. They reviewed current school safety, security, and preparedness practices and identify areas to update necessary infrastructure and best practices to keep schools safe.  

Key areas that were quickly identified to help support schools across the state included creating regional security specialists, funding for security infrastructure projects, and funding for mental health practitioners and school psychologists.  The Task Force’s legislative recommendations are: 

  • Hiring a regional specialist in the northeast, southeast, central and western regions of the state to provide tailored support and increased training. 
  • ​Appropriating general funds to support the Safe2HelpNE anonymous reporting hotline once federal funding ends in 2024. 
  • ​Creating a $15 million grant program related to security infrastructure such as surveillance equipment, door-locking systems or double-entry doors.
  • ​Establishing a $5 million grant program so local health departments or educational service units could hire mental health practitioners or school psychologists. 

By creating regionally focused security specialists to assist schools, security measures can be consistent across the state while ensuring technical support for the unique regions of the state is met for both urban and rural schools.  By creating security specialist positions in coordination with the Nebraska Department of Education, we can create security continuity for school districts throughout the state. By providing a grant program for security infrastructure, all schools will have the opportunity to provide quality safety devices such as security cameras and self-locking doors that are proven to help create safe schools.  

Finally, by providing funding via grants to schools for mental health practitioners or school psychologists, schools will be able to provide the much-needed mental health care we know our students desire and need. Research shows mentally healthy students are more likely to go to school ready to learn, actively engage in school activities, have a supportive and caring connection with adults and peers, use appropriate problem-solving strategies, have nonaggressive behaviors, and add to a positive school culture. 

Unused Tax Credits Would Boost Student Outcomes

A bill heard in the Education Committee this week, LB518, would help address educational achievement gaps throughout the state by targeting increased state funding to students who may need extra support. The bill creates the Reducing Education Risk Factors and Property Tax Relief Aid Trust Fund under the Tax Equity and Educational Opportunities Support Act (TEEOSA). Every year beginning in 2023, the Department of Revenue would certify to the State Treasurer the amount of credits that remain unclaimed under the Nebraska Property Tax Incentive Act for the tax year completed two years prior. That amount would then be transferred from the General Fund to this new trust fund.  

 Students not working at academic grade level, those with a high rate of absenteeism, repeated suspensions, or expulsions, who have been identified as English Language Learners and who have been identified as students with characteristics of dyslexia would be able to receive additional services through the fund. Funding to school districts would be based on the number of free lunch students within a district and by the number of students residing in sparse and very sparse school districts. 

The NSEA supports creating the Reducing Education Risk Factors and Property Tax Relief Act. Increased funding to schools has been shown to boost student outcomes and, in turn, increase future wages. This proposal will allow schools to better serve their students, allowing them the flexibility to provide those services best suited to each student’s need. 

LB518 provides that the State Board of Education would work with all Nebraska school districts to implement programs and interventions to improve school attendance, academic progress, graduation rates, and most importantly, pursuit of post-secondary education and career advancement. Helping school districts promote that life-long learning mentality to be successful for every student across the state is imperative in retaining our students and having them stay to work and raise a family in Nebraska.  

Last Week of Committee Hearings 

The public hearing process started on Monday, Jan. 23 and will continue through this week. There will be the regular schedule of full floor debate in the morning and public bill hearings in the afternoon. Unless otherwise noted, hearings begin at 1:30 p.m. and will be live streamed via NET. Hearings can be accessed online by clicking here. All letters providing commentary on bills must be submitted online via the bill page by noon the business day before a public hearing. 

Tuesday, March 21, 2023


LB774 (Vargas) Change provisions relating to the Student Discipline Act 
NSEA Position: Monitor 

LB527 (Fredrickson) Provide reimbursements to school districts and ESU for mental health expenditures 
NSEA Position: Support 

LB177 (Erdman) Adopt the My Student, My Choice Act 
NSEA Position: Oppose 

LB332 (Linehan) Prohibit creation of new joint public agencies with power or authority relating to education 
NSEA Position: Oppose 

Friday, March 24, 2023


LB441 (Albrecht) Change provisions relating to obscenity 
NSEA Position: Oppose